Monday, March 7, 2016

Increasing Nurture & Structure

     Daddy has a meeting to attend tonight and the house is in an uproar. As he was preparing to leave, Dean turned to me and said, "Do you think you will be okay?" I assured him we would be just fine. He hasn't been out the door half an hour yet and I have already settled numerous squabbles. Thankfully Joseph was in bed before Dean got ready to go so he has no idea Daddy isn't home. The girls are taking some quality, "time apart," while they work on their attitude's and big feelings.

   Sometimes I long for the day when something as simple as an evening meeting won't call for such extreme reactions, but I remind myself how quickly time passes. Now is the time to nurture, love and instruct my children. As Lia sat beside me working through her big feelings, she wasn't in the mood to be held, I was reminded of something we were told at an Empowered To Connect Seminar, "When you increase the structure, you must increase the nurture."   

   Dean and I are pretty good at providing the nurture and structure our children need, but for some reason we struggle to provide both at the same time. Maybe it is because doing both at once requires so much more self discipline in our own lives. When I focus on nurturing my children I hate to enforce those necessary boundaries and when I make sure the boundaries are well marked, I find it harder to pour on the nurture. So often we find ourselves in the ditch on one side other the other, walking the middle road just seems hard to do.

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Nurturing your child may look something like this:
-rocking the child who scarcely fits on your lap
-patting his back until he falls asleep
-spooning food into his mouth, even though he is perfectly able to eat himself
-putting band aid's on almost invisible scrapes
-rubbing his arm during a church service
-packing a snack when you go away to assure your child that there will be enough food for him

Structure:
-making sure he gets 12 hours (or as much as he needs) of sleep every night even if it means sacrificing
-always having your child in line of vision
-answering prompts with, "Yes mom and yes dad."
-limiting play to a certain portion of the room

There are many more ways to nurture your child and many different ways of providing the necessary structure, but these are a few of the things we implement. The degree to which these things are  used vary from child to child, they also increase and decrease as they are needed.

  A child has to feel safe and secure before he will begin to heal from his trauma. For our children, having daddy gone triggers their fear of abandonment... and now that my little people are calmed down enough to accept some nurturing, I better hop to it!
   
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